I had reached a fork in the road. A block in the road on my trip back from hell. I had no choice to go back, why would I want to? My only choices were just to move forward, or stop and remain in the place in-between health and sickness. But I have been in the place in-between in the past and it’s very lonely, isolate and barren. The place in between was the reason why I lost what I really believed in to begin with. So as I was faced making an inevitable choice and I pressed my foot on the gas petal…I realized what it is that I truly believe in. I believe in something sweet yet salty, creamy yet bumpy, sticky yet smooth and very versatile. Life? No. Peanut butter.
Over the past year and a half I have been waging a war in my head over something that should go without thinking about, something that is so rudimentary and vital to survival. Something you’d call eating. Food became the demon who summoned me to go on that trip to hell and lose sight of who I really was as a person. He made what I value and what is best for me trespassers on his territory. That devil plainly just crawled into my head and turned me away from the people who cared about me because he thought he was more important than them. He completely isolated me until I had no choice but to submit to his constant antagonizing and fall for the devilish tasks he asked me to do. “Andrea! Put down that muffin, come on…do you really need it? I thought you were stronger than that.” So I’d put it down and continue to listen to him until people started to notice my protruding cheekbones.
By the end of last summer, I broke. I couldn’t deal with the selfish, conniving, dishonest and ignorant person I had become. The food I most avoided when I was trapped in the depths of my eating disorder was peanut butter, and it was the first I looked forward to eating again when I began to venture down the road to recovery.
When I first tasted peanut butter after a year and a half of fearing it, I was surprised at how sweet it could be but how it still managed to have that tang of saltiness to it. Like peanut butter, this experience has been salty, and by salty I mean absolutely horrible, yet I still managed to find some sweetness in it. I realized that I am a person who has a body that deserves to be nourished and loved just like anybody else’s and I discovered the people who will love me and my body no matter what. I realized that life is going to have it chunks and bumps but once you overcome them you will be a bigger and better person. Above all the other lessons I learned from my love of peanut butter and how you can put it on ANYTHING, I discovered that life is very versatile and you can apply yourself to it anyway you please…so why not make the best out of it and worry about what REALLY matters in life?
So whenever I find myself down and out, feeling like I can’t go on…I fix myself a tablespoon of peanut butter and think to myself that the reason to go on is because I’m striving for that smooth and creamy, sweet and salty, health balance in life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.